March 17, 2020
Nearly 36 hours from the first post of this graphic, and Louisiana has seen an additional 45 cases, and 1 additional death. The state lab has tested an additional 127 cases, but it is important to remember that the state lab is not testing every case, only the more significant cases. Local outpatient clinics that have the ability to test patients for Covid 19 are sending these tests out to LabCorp and Qwest with a turn around time of 48 – 72 hours. Patients being tested in this manner are those having a Fever (> 100.4), cough, aches, shortness of breath and a negative Flu test. The more serious hospitalized patients and high risk patients as determined by the CDC guidelines based on travel are being tested by the State. So if you have been tested and are waiting for the result; STAY HOME – SELF QUARANTINE!
The reason I make this distinction in testing is due to the fact that there are likely many more patients being tested in Louisiana than the 374 tests shown here, which are from the state lab and hospitalized or high risk patients. With 136 cases detected and 45 new cases in 36 hours, this number will begin to grow exponentially due to the fact that more of the tests done from outpatient clinics with Qwest or LabCorp will begin to show up in the coming days. As well, as they have seen in Europe, the suspected number of cases in the population is exponentially larger than what is shown in the data. This leads to a rapid rise in cases diagnosed. The increase can also be attributed to the delay in symptoms in the unknowingly infected patient who continues to interact in society infecting more people.
All of this goes back to the importance of protecting yourself and all of the people around you from the spread of the Covid 19 virus. Social Distancing has been forced upon us to some extent by the State of Louisiana, which is great! Yet there is still so much to do within our own families and homes. Educate your children and friends on this viral disease, how it spreads, and how to slow it down: Cover your cough, wash your hands, use hand sanitizers and practice Social Distancing.
Richard L. Hebert, II, MD